Kundrakudi Murugan Temple- stuff of legends!

On December 15, 2016

Madurai is known as the temple town of Tamil Nadu; it’s the place to visit for those who are history and ancient culture buffs. The ancient sculptures, beautiful architecture as well as the entrancing legends that go along with the temple history are a great way of learning about civilization as well as the oldest religion of the world – Hinduism.

The Kundrakudi Murugan temple, also known as the Shanmughanathar temple, sits atop a hill in the village of Kundrakudi near the city of Madurai, India. The easiest way to access it is by road after reaching Madurai either by road, rail or air.

You have to dedicatedly climb the hundred steps up the 40m hill to worship the majestic presiding deity, Lord Murugan with six faces and 12 hands. This temple is special as Lord Murugan appears with his wives Valli and Deivanai, both seated on peacocks. It would be a good idea to carry a bottle of drinking water along with you as the heat tends to drain the energies.

This temple is built in the true Dravidian style and has a five-tiered gopuram, the gateway tower, rising to a height of 16.5m, and leading into a pillared hall and the sanctum sanctorum. This temple is considered to be a very effective pilgrimage spot as sincere prayers offered here ensure the devotee a healthy life free from disease, healing from various problems, as well as the boon of child for the childless and prosperity, education and high yields for the farmers. There is evidence that holy and enlightened souls have worshiped here such as Lord Brahma, the great sages Agasthya and Viswamithra, the Pandayas, Garuda and the Sun God.

The hill is shaped like a peacock and there is a very interesting legend behind it; it’s believed that the demon king Sooran infuriated the sacred chariot of Murugan, the peacock, by telling it that the Garuda, the chariot of Vishnu and the Swan, the chariot of Saraswati could travel faster than it. The peacock got so angry that it swallowed the Garuda and the Swan! Lord Vishnu then pleaded with Murugan to get his chariot back, which the peacock immediately accepted as it realized its mistake. And to offer penance, the peacock came to Kundrakudi.

There are three rock-cut cave temples on the western side of the hill that are dedicated to Lord Shiva. These caves are some of the major specimens of rock-cut architecture of the 8th century Pandyan Empire. Currently they are administered as a protected monument by the Archeological Society of India.

For the curious-minded, this is a magical land!